Fathom (Bally, 1981)


Pinside rating

This game received 137 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 8.124 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #35 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 8.184

Artwork: 8.952

Sounds/Music: 6.549

Other Aspects: 8.253

Rating comments

There are 61 rating comments for this game.

Pinside staff rating

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Ranking history

An overview of this machine's ranking over the last years. Lower is better.

Rating history

An overview of this machine's rating over the last years. Higher is better.

Found 61 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 61 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
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26 days ago
This is the first ‘80s game in the Top 100, and it’s a Pin from 1981! Amazing! Art, theme integration , layout, gameplay, it’s got it all. Get one while you can.
5 months ago
When you look in the pinball dictionary this should be the example. It's a Classic for sure just on looks alone and the game play holds up to its looks. The 1st game even my wife said "wow that's a nice looking game"
6 months ago
Plain and simple fun! The gameplay is so easy to learn, yet near impossible to master. The art is gorgeous and the theme of mermaids and sea nymphs drowning dudes is genious! I'm normally not a huge fan of early 80s pins, but it just doesn't get better than this!
7 months ago
Fathom is THE classic Bally SS title. Multiball, two bonuses, two banks of inline drops, what more do you want?
7 months ago
This game is so much fun. It offers a challenge, which is what I love in a pinball machine. The best part about this machine, however, is the artwork. It is GORGEOUS. Seriously. I don't say that about a lot of machines.
8 months ago
Excellent game. Another simple Bally that can bring you to your knees. Beautiful as a pinball can get.
8 months ago
Game did not live up to its internet hype. Sorry. Just another Bally SS to me.
8 months ago
I recently had the pleasure of fully restoring a Fathom. I didn’t get too many games on it before the restoration because it didn’t work well when I got it. I knew it would be a good game from all the positive comments of others; so I just dove in with restoring the playfield and cabinet. It came out way better than expected and plays silky smooth! As expected, the game play is great all around. Rules are easy to understand, shots are challenging and multiball is rewarding. The artwork on this game has got to be among the top for Bally.
Since finishing my game, I’ve played others at shows. There is a huge difference in a player that isn’t tuned well and a minty example.
9 months ago
Reminds me of an old EM machine from the 50's . I just don't get some of the 80's machines which so many hold in high regard. I played this a few times back in the 90's and remember disliking it very very much .
1 year ago
A beautiful game that's also fun, classic layout.
1 year ago
"Help, surface, surface – Fathom!"
Who can forget this classic Early Bally?

Greg Freres really outdid himself on this one with all aspects of artwork on the playfield and backglass.
It not a surprise the playfield and backglass have been reproduced, as the PFs were beat to $#@! on most games.
Gameplay is challenging and extremely satisfying with the inline drop targets.
Interconnected left bank target memory AKA Eight Ball deluxe which score inlines as well.
Good voice speech for the age.
Simple but memorable, "d-lup" water background tune.
Very collectible for a reason.
First price spikes were all the way back in the 2000, long before PinSide.

A must have if you like Early Bally machines, even if you have to build your own.
Collector quality examples are not going to be cheap now.
2 years ago
Fathom is one of those games that no one noticed for a long time. It was available to be picked up for a cheap bargain in fact. Then somewhere along the way, someone noticed the fantastic art package and the decent gameplay, and the price skyrocketed through the roof.

Personally, I love the way this game looks! It's beautiful. But ultimately, I'm much less impressed with how the game actually plays. I've played two copies of this game now and I felt that what looked to be a great layout left me wanting so much more. It feels clunky to me, the shots don't feel quite right, and it even lagged a bit IMO. I really wanted to love this game but ultimately the gameplay is a turn off for me.

UPDATE: Played this one a few more times recently, and I'm getting it now. It is a truly addicting game ("I was SO close to getting that multiball!!") that demands one more play. Not a huge fan of the way the early 80s Bally flipper system feels (it does feel like it lags a bit, like you have to time shots differently than other games), but that's a minor gripe. The only design flaw I can find in the layout is the shot straight to the top right bumper. Not sure what Ward could have done with that space, but that spot feels like a waste. Cool game!
2 years ago
I would love to have this machine. Beautiful game.
2 years ago
Gorgeous game. The light show is my primary beef and it isn't as fast as Sterns of the same era (I'm looking at you Dragonfist and Quicksilver). I would absolutely have one of these in my collection if the right one came along.
2 years ago
I'm still learning this table, but wow! Shots galore, and the ruleset is awesome.
2 years ago
One word, Gorgeous! Wait there's more to this this beauty than its looks. It is a great looking machine, but it's also a great player. A very highly sought after machine from a murder's row of great games from Bally during the early solid state era.

From the reverse inlane/outlane layout to the two sets of inline drop targets that lock balls at bay....and they even managed to put a spinner in there too. I wish many of the current games being made could reuse some of the ideas that this table used.

The game is a challenge, as many others from this time, so don't expect a cake walk into getting multiball, it is a chore.

The sound package does sound dated and repetitive, but that was what they had at the time.

It's too bad they didn't make more then 3,500 of these babies...since its such a classic!
2 years ago
Terrific game. Fathom keeps me coming back game after game, I can't get enough of those inline drop targets. I'm sure anyone who has seen this game would also agree that the art package is a stunner also.
2 years ago
Truly great artwork. Definitely one of the top 5 prettiest backglasses ever. I like the ball lock behind the drops. Other than that, gameplay is average.
2 years ago
Very solid and fun machine, very nice to look at overall. Love the ball locks and the stand up targets that rise afterwards, making it truly "captured". If you see it, play it.
2 years ago
The best looking IMO
Drop target in-line is great.
Just not my taste, too slow and not enough deep and entertaining.
3 years ago
This was a grail title for me when I first got into pinball & I had to hunt long & hard to obtain a nice one finally got it & while I do enjoy it & think it may be one of the most beautiful pins ever made to look at , it just isn't all that fun to play for me at least it just doesn't compare to the fast & crisp feel of newer more modern pins ..... lots of center drains & keeping multiball alive is a bit of a challenge
3 years ago
I didn't even knew the game existed until I ran across it at APE 2015. Super cool artwork, fun game play, good rules, good game flow, plenty of toys and somewhat novel ideas (trapped ball behind drop targets, outlane design) make this a very unusual but extremely enjoyable pinball experience. Rare and expensive, too bad. Otherwise I would own one. A true gem.
3 years ago
Beautiful game - cabinet, playfield, backglass - fabulous package. Wonderful ball flow, great shots, keeps you coming back for more. What else do you want in a pin?
3 years ago
This game is legit fun. Inline drop targets galore, and a three ball multi ball that feels similar to BSD's three stacked multi ball. A ridiculously awesome and beautiful machine with a very strong 'one more game' draw. One complaint I don't care for is the pop bumper being open to direct shots.
3 years ago
Ranked in the 70's? How? This is maybe the best SS game of the early 80's. Wonderful layout, shots all over the board, great "guarded" lock areas, good ruleset, and the art is amazing.

I found myself pumping quarters into this one for a straight 45 minutes. Lots of fun. If I had my choice I'd take this over almost any game, DMD or not.
There are 61 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 3.

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